Indian Commercials: Bringing a desi flavor in ads


Who doesn’t love ads? Even though they bug the flow of an interesting show, break your TV hypnotized state during a climax, they are entertaining no less!

Art has no language. However, more than music or a movie, it’s easier to watch an Ad in any language, at least for me. I have absolutely no language preferences in Adverts.

Like in all regions, Indian ads have a cultural influence on them that might not work in other places. For example, the cute Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Silk ad featuring Bharatnatyam Dancers having the chocolate on the wings of the stage as the show is in progress, has a very regional influence in it – Eating with hands.

People from other regions mind find it disgusting to eat with their hand (though I don’t think they eat chocolate with knife and fork) and worse, to lick it off. (It does make me wonder how this ad can be construed as disgusting while KFC’s has sold in the eating-with-knife-and-fork communities for ages with their tagline “Finger Lickin’ Good”)

Most of the ads below are of recent times. While others of earlier times I like discussing.

Good ads

Geojit BNP Paribas

A man proposes to his lady at a candlelight dinner and they both get reveal their shortcomings. No better way to make a point about transparency.

Dairy milk shubh arambh

All most all of the Dairy Milk ads are great. Be it the Silk ads, or Shubh Arambh, be it of 2010 or of 1990. Ever since I can remember Dairy Milk has most often had great ads.

Aachi Pickle Thottukollava

Thottukollava translates to “Shall I touch?”, it’s an old Tamil movie romantic song. The ad features a lady and a guy singing lines from the song at a pickle bottle.

Ilayaraja (IR) for malabar gold

Though I had to squeeze my brain to analyze what was the correlation between IR (one of the musical legends of India) and Gold, it seemed like a good twist from conventional gold ads featuring marriage, or how gold makes one more attractive or makes a perfect gift or dowry. Another one on similar lines, Joy Alukas Ad featuring Singer Shreya Ghosal.

Bad ads

Hi Handsome Emami

Guy goes into a girl’s hostel to steal fairness cream. Why can’t he just buy it? Besides I hate most fairness cream ads. They have to make some ad to sell the product though it’s annoying to make it seem like only fairness will get you a life partner.

Check out this annoying Banjaras ad- Guy tells his prospective girl that she has everything he’d want in his dream girl except fairness.

It should have featured her kicking him where it hurts for being such a dork.

Kiscon TMT featuring Namitha- Whats the connection between the voluptuous Namitha and a TMT bar. Its’ repulsive to a point where I’ll go to any length to ensure my builder wouldn’t buy Kis, Kis, Kiscon.

Ranbir Kapoor Tata Docomo </strong>– The whole point of an ad is to be entertaining while endorsing a product. Not to listen to a speech,sirji.

Vodafone Facebook “He’s always on facebook” ad – A very lengthy ad and its hardly clear whether the ad is about Facebook or Vodafone.

Airtel DTH HD –
High definition could have been portrayed better showing Godzilla approach you instead of Kareena glaring at you when your favorite show breaks at an interesting moment.

Hit/Famous Ads I hate

Airtel Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai

Love the lyrics (translates to “each friend is essential”) but the rapid shifting of scenes especially with girls dancing like evil spirits are possessing them gives me a headache (no faking.)

Idea 3G to prevent population increase.

No comments.

Ads I hate for no Reason

Trisha Krishnan Lions Dates Honey

A western stylish and traditional desi Trisha talk about Lion Dates Honey. In the end, she says “Home , sweet home.” How does that connect to honey? Turn off. An actress’s potential wasted on a mediocre ad story-line.

Bournville Ghana
Each cocoa bean is inspected; now that’s neither true nor interesting. A chocolate ad that doesn’t tempt you but tests your patience.

Disclaimer : The list above is only inclusive and not exhaustive. Personal Views of an opinionated mind. No offense intended.

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5 thoughts on “Indian Commercials: Bringing a desi flavor in ads

  1. Great thoughts nicely penned (or rather typed!!). I agree with your views on all the points mentioned except one for ‘Bournville Ghana’ (coz i feel its a lovely ad, they showed what they wanted to. So, we can’t expect practicality in everything). Anyways, its your views and also you yourself hate it for no reason.

    Anyways, there are some ads i feel pity for. I wonder how brand managers can put their money on it. Like, Havells (each ad is a disaster, shock laga?), Kurkure (Juhi Chawla!!:P), Santoor (same concept for decades, mummy!!), etc. Whadya Think?!

  2. What I like best about Indian ads is that the desi flavour more or less makes them so easy to relate to. The Fevicol series comes to mind. Or the McDowell’s Dhoni shooter at Harbhajan.

    The subtle nuances of a culture do creep in, however unfairly absolutist they might seem! Interesting post.

  3. These were fun to watch. Your post also made me think about how much I assume advertisements reflect the culture from which they came. I wouldn’t want anyone to watch American or Canadian television commercials and conclude that they are accurate descriptions of daily life. Yet, if I’m not careful, I may allow myself just such misconceptions.

    1. Have you ever thought about how some shows, say Masterchef Australia differs from Masterchef USA or Masterchef India? All of them are run with the same format and concept but the cultural difference in the show, in the behavior of the judges and participants are obvious. Masterchef India is more casual and unprofessional, Australia is elegant and USA is very dramatic with profanity used casually.

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